CFC NFL Draft Round 1 Grades

Leading up to the NFL draft, you can do or read all of the Mock Drafts you want. Prepare, prepare and prepare. When it comes down to it though, nobody knows what’s going to happen including the teams themselves. Now that the dust has settled on Round 1 though, it’s time to hand out some grades.

1. Indianapolis Colts select Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. A

It was announced days before the draft ever started, but since we knew it was going to happen it’s been an A pick. The Colts got a great quarterback to replace Peyton Manning, now they need to do the work in the other rounds to put players around him.

2. Washington Redskins select Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor.

Again, we knew this pick was coming. Just like Luck, this pick was great and I think makes the Redskins an interesting team this upcoming season. If they use RGIII right and get him some more weapons on offense, they have the defense to possibly get a wild card in the NFC.

3. Cleveland Browns select Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama. B+

I like Trent Richardson, but I don’t like the Browns trading up to take him at #3. Runningbacks in the Top 5 haven’t always turned out the best and the Browns gave away some picks to get him.

4. Minnesota Vikings select Matt Kalil, OT, USC. A

The Vikings moved back a pick and were still able to take their man in Matt Kalil. Kalil will come in and provide protection for Christian Ponder which is something that they needed desperately.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars select Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State.

I love Justin Blackmon and think he’s going to be a great pro. The Jaguars wanted him and knew he would be gone by the time they picked, so trading up made plenty of sense. They got help for Blaine Gabbert who now has to succeed  or will be replaced at this time next year.

6. Dallas Cowboys select Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU. A

The Cowboys made a great move in trading up to get Morris Claiborne. They came into the offseason with their secondary being one of their weakest parts, but they have addressed that perfectly by signing Chris Carr and getting Claiborne.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Mark Barron, S, Alabama. C+

Finally! I was getting worried with all these good grades. Good thing for the Bucs, who traded back to take Mark Barron at #7. I think Barron is an okay player but they reached taking him this early. Safety was a big need for them though, so C+ is the right grade for them.

8. Miami Dolphins select Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M. C

I know I’m about to sound like a broken record here, but couldn’t the Dolphins have traded back if they were so sure they wanted Tannehill? Nobody else was going to reach for him which is exactly what they did. Tannehill has been hyped up so much for him to reach this position, which usually isn’t good for draft prospects.

9. Carolina Panthers select Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College. B+ 

I love Luke Kuechly and he deserves to be drafted this early. He’ll be great with the Panthers and they automatically have someone they can plug in this year and make their defense better. The only reason this pick isn’t an A is because the Panthers had other needs they could have addressed here.

10. Buffalo Bills select Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina.

Similar to the Panthers pick, I like Stephon Gilmore. He’ll be a good CB and makes that defense that they’ve spent so much time on even more impressive. My problem though is that CB wasn’t there biggest need. Still, a great pick though.

11. Kansas City Chiefs select Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. C+ 

The Chiefs could use a DT, but I’m surprised they went with Dontari Poe. Poe was this years workout phenom and impressed many, improving his draft stock. Being the first DT taken though is too high though, and he’s a big boom or bust guy.

12. Philadelphia Eagles select Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State.

Fletcher Cox though, is the guy that the Chiefs should have drafted. The Eagles saw the best DT in the draft sitting there and with a need for a young one this trade made too much sense for the Eagles. As a Giants fan, I was mad to see all three division rivals draft in the Top 12 due to trades. I’ll still take the ring though.

13. Arizona Cardinals select Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame. B-

I think that 13 is probably too high for Michael Floyd to be drafted, but he’s going to be great along with Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona. The only reason this pick isn’t in the C range is because Fitz wanted Floyd, and the Cardinals keeping Fitz happy is good especially since John Skelton is still their QB.

14. St. Louis Rams select Michael Brockers, DT, LSU. B-

It must suck to be the Rams. They got jumped by the Jags who took Justin Blackmon, so they traded. Then they watched Michael Floyd get taken right in front of them, still without a WR to be happy about. They did get some more picks in their trades though and sit pretty for the 2nd round. Brockers is a good pick and they may be able to get Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill in the 2nd.

15. Seattle Seahawks select Bruce Irving, OLB, West Virgina. D

Who? I, along with many others were absolutely shocked by this pick although this will be the second straight year Pete Carroll has done this in Seattle. Irving probably wasn’t going until the 2nd or 3rd round at least, so obviously this is an awful value trade for the Seahawks. Not to mention that this guy is pretty  much just a speed rusher and average player.

16. New York Jets select Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina. C

Couldn’t you hear the Jets fans screaming through the TV for Melvin Ingram, who shouldn’t have ever dropped to the Jets in the first place? Apparently the Jets staff couldn’t, because they went with the troubled Coples. What a surprise though, for the Jets to go after someone controversial.

17. Cincinnati Bengals select Dre Kirpatrick, CB, Alabama. B

The Bengals needed some help for Leon Hall in their secondary, so they went out and got it. Some character questions have caused Kirpatrick to fall a little bit, but he’s a top talent. Besides, since when do the Bengals care about character issues?

18. San Diego Chargers select Melvin Ingram, OLB, South Carolina.

The Chargers got lucky here as a top 10 talent fell right into their lap. Ingram is a great pick and has great value at #18.

19. Chicago Bears select Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State. B-

Shea McClellin could be a great player, but the Bears may have reached a bit here. Many evaluators have reportedly called him a second round talent, but he could provide to be an electric pass rusher for the Bears off the edge.

20. Tennessee Titans select Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor. C+ 

The Titans needed to get a weapon for Jake Locker, but I’m not sure Kendall Wright is the guy. I think Stephen Hill is a better player and I’m not sold on Wright just yet.

21. New England Patriots select Chandler Jones, DE, Syracuse. A-

Wait a minute, the Patriots traded up? And they took a position that they needed? I’m kidding of course, but it was surprising to see them trade up(and even more when they did it again later). Chandler Jones is a good player though and will help them out with their pass rushing need.

22. Cleveland Browns select Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State.

Wow. The Browns took a quarterback that nobody was going to take at least for another round, and I’m not even sure he’s better than the guy they already have which is saying a lot considering that guy is Colt McCoy. They could have gone so many more ways with this pick but Weeden was just an awful choice. There’s the one and only F of my draft grades.

23. Detroit Lions select Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa. A

A great pick for the Lions. They had a need at OT and were lucky enough to see Reiff fall all the way to them. Great pick.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers select David DeCastro, G, Stanford.

This was another great pick for the Steelers, who always seem to get it right. DeCastro fell because of the position he plays, but talent wise he’s a Top 15 pick. Putting him next to Maurkice Pouncey will give them a solid side of their line for years to come.

25. New England Patriots select Dont’a Hightower, LB, Alabama. C+ 

Wait, the Patriots traded up again? As Bill Simmons said on Twitter maybe the Mayans were onto something. Seriously though, Hightower is a good player but I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the Pats. They should have addressed some other needs with this pick.

26. Houston Texans select Whitney Mercilius, DE, Illinois. B- 

After losing Mario Williams to Buffalo, Mercilius is being brought in to try and help fill the gap. I’m not sure how good he is though.

27. Cincinnati Bengals select Kevin Zeitler, G, Wisconsin. B

The Bengals traded back to pick up a young guard. Good move by them to help improve their O Line.

28. Green Bay Packers select Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC.

The Packers needed to get some help for Clay Matthews in the pass rush, and that’s what they did with this pick. Nick Perry will come in and help them with that.

29. Minnesota Vikings select Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame. B

The Vikings had an awful secondary and were able to address it with this pick. Great pick in Harrison Smith.

30. San Fransisco 49’ers select AJ Jenkins, WR, Illinois. C+ 

The 49’ers added Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason and while they won’t be the answers for the future, they didn’t need to use a first round pick on a WR. Even if they really liked Jenkins though, they probably could have traded into the 2nd round to take him.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Doug Martin, RB, Boise State.

The Buccaneers traded themselves back into the 1st round to take Doug Martin, who will help their run game. This addition also means we’ll see a smaller role from LeGarrette Blount, which is what most draft “experts” saw coming into this draft.

32. New York Giants select David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech. B

Every year the Giants pride themselves on going for the best value. This year, even though RB wasn’t their biggest need, they saw that in David Wilson. Wilson will be a nice addition to that backfield along with Ahmad Bradshaw though. The Giants will try and get back to the double headed monster in the backfield that was the staple of their offense when they won the Super Bowl in 2007.

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